Thursday 21 November 2019

The Khan-do attitude gets jockeys over finish line

Mark Hilliard

IT'S the sort of horse-riding ability even Genghis Khan would have admired.

More than eight centuries after the brutal warlord swept across Eurasia, the world's longest and most challenging horserace has been created in his memory.

But when professional Irish jump jockeys Dony Fahy and Richard Killoran rode to victory in a 1,000km cross-Mongolia event yesterday, their intentions were far more charitable.

The Mongol Derby is a re-creation of the ancient system adopted by Khan to deliver messages.

Those taking part ride semi-wild horses and swap them every 40km.

In all, 34 people signed up but such is the intensity of the challenge that only around 21 are expected to finish. A number of riders have suffered serious injuries.

Beginning on August 10, it has taken the winners a week to complete.

In the end, Mr Fahy crossed the finish line nose-to-nose with South African Barry Armitage, but the latter was handed a two hour veterinary penalty.

His riding partner for most of the event, Galway man Richard Killoran, finished just 44 seconds behind to take second place.

Irish Independent

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